49ers Showed Interest In Steve Spagnuolo

Representing a significant reason the Chiefs prevailed in Super Bowl LVIII, Steve Spagnuolo remains off the head coaching radar. The veteran DC’s woeful Rams HC stint has kept him out of searches for top jobs, though he remains interested. But the Chiefs look to have seen competition emerge for their DC’s services.

The five-year Chiefs DC has a new contract in place, but The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reports the 49ers were interested in poaching him for their defensive play-calling post (subscription required). Spagnuolo coached last season on an expiring contract. The 49ers look to be going with a two-pronged approach to replace Steve Wilks, promoting Nick Sorensen to DC and adding Brandon Staley to their staff as well.

Spagnuolo has successfully rebounded from his rough St. Louis stay, helping Kansas City collect three Super Bowl wins over the past five years. The Chiefs, who had seen a basement-level defense do well to keep them out of Super Bowl LIII in Patrick Mahomes‘ first starter season, hired Spagnuolo — an ex-Andy Reid Eagles assistant — and saw that move play the lead role in their third Mahomes-era title. Despite the superstar quarterback being in his prime, the Chiefs were unable to string together a consistent offense this past season. But their No. 2-ranked defense led the way. The 49ers scored two regulation touchdowns to the Chiefs’ one, but Spagnuolo’s defense keeping San Francisco out of the end zone in overtime set up the dramatic second-possession finish.

The Chiefs moved to extend Spagnuolo the same day the 49ers fired Wilks, with the deal coming to pass hours before the San Francisco DC change surfaced. That adds some intrigue to this timeline, with ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano also indicating the team explored a Spagnuolo addition. The NFC champions appear to have sent out feelers here, but the Chiefs have made their intentions known regarding their top assistant.

Spagnuolo, 64, is set to earn around $5MM per year on his new Chiefs contract, Graziano adds. That places the four-time Super Bowl-winning DC on the top tier among coordinators. The Dolphins placed Vic Fangio on that tier last year, though that union lasted only one season. Given his age and poor showing in three seasons with the Rams, Spagnuolo is unlikely to earn another HC opportunity. But he will be in place to help the Chiefs pursue the Super Bowl era’s first threepeat.

Sorensen, 45, has been with the 49ers since 2022. He is three years removed from serving as the Jaguars’ special teams coordinator under Urban Mayer, making this an interesting appointment. Sorensen also worked alongside Robert Saleh on Pete Carroll‘s Seahawks staff, shuttling between ST and defensive roles. He and Staley, whose last run as a DC produced a No. 1-ranked unit (the 2020 Rams), will go about leading the 49ers’ effort to secure a title under Kyle Shanahan.

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